Cabbage is now identical with humble vegetable. But actually, ancient Romans are used to value cabbage as luxury food. Even many people treasured the flavor of cabbage above the other vegetables. Cabbage is also believes a good treatment for headaches and gout. Unfortunately, people today don’t really care about cabbage.
However, you should be different. If you have a garden behind your house, consider planting cabbage so you don’t have to buy it again when you want to cook it. If you think this is a good idea, you obviously need to understand how to plant it and when to harvest cabbage. All the details you want to know are explained down here.
When to Harvest Cabbage from Your Vegetable Garden
Just like many other people who are new in planting cabbage, you might be wondering the best time to harvest your garbage. Do you have to wait some more time or can you harvest it today? Actually, different variety of cabbages is determining the harvesting time of your cabbage. But there is criteria that helps you see if your cabbages are ready or not. Here are some of them.
1. How long have you planted your cabbage
Some types of cabbages will be ready to be harvested after 140 days. Those types need 80 days to grow from seed, also 60 days to be ready after the transplanting. Some other cabbage types can be harvested after 285 days.
These types are going to need 180 days to grow from seed. The other types of cabbage let you harvest them in just 105 days after you transplant them. You must first understand the approximate harvest time, especially per every cultivar.
2. Checking the physical condition of your cabbage
Next step is walking into the garden patch. Watch your cabbage and look at your cabbage closely. You’ll need to consult the information of seed packet about the specific cultivar to know the right harvesting time. Your mature cabbage should have dark green color for the outer leaves. Inner leaves of your mature cabbage should have light green color.
3. Best texture of ready to harvest cabbages
When to harvest cabbage in different type? Some cabbages allow you to harvest them as soon as their head grows to softball size and become compact. Some other cabbage types become mature when the size is getting close to soccer ball’s size.
Also try to feel the head of your cabbage. Squeeze to feel it. Make sure that the cabbage you touch is totally firm. Soft cabbage means you must wait longer.
4. Watch your cabbage leaves to know your veggies’ maturity
Check out the leaves of your cabbage. Your cabbage is at the best harvesting time if the leaves start cracking. Check leaves that tightly adhere to your big cabbage. If those leaves start splitting apart, you can start harvesting them now.
5. Consider the rain
So you believe that your cabbage needs some more days before the harvest time. But the forecast told you there’ll be rain in few days, harvest your cabbage right now. Overwatering and excessive rain will split your cabbage heads.
Steps of Harvesting Your Cabbage
Oh, one more crucial thing about when to harvest cabbage is after the sun rises. Picking your cabbage in the morning is highly recommended. No, it is a must. When the weather becomes too hot, your cabbage leaves will be wilt and your cabbage won’t be fresh anymore. Always pick your cabbages in the morning. How do you pick your cabbage? Here are the steps to follow.
1. Picking your cabbage with your own power
First, put on your gloves that are super strong to protect your hands. Use your hands to gran the base of your cabbage head. Now pull that base of your cabbage head with all energy you have. If your soil is loose, you’ll be able to bring up your cabbage including its root and other parts. If you cannot pick your cabbage easily, you’ll have to twist your wrist a little to harvest your cabbage.
2. Using sharp implements after you figure out when to harvest cabbage
Make sure that your loppers or knife is very sharp so that you can cut the head of your cabbage off. Leave some inches of stem as well as leaves that are floppy, large, and have some holes. Oh, leave the root of your cabbage in ground as well. Everything you leave behind is going to give you the new life only in two weeks. They won’t be as big as the first generation but they’re edible.
What to Do Once You Know When to Harvest Cabbage
Once you figure out that your cabbage is ready for harvest, you need to understand how to sort your cabbages and store them. Cut away or peel the loose and large leaves. You can use these leaves to feed your chickens or to make compost pile. Now put your cabbage heads inside your house or in shady spot immediately, don’t let the sun bake your precious cabbages.
When your cabbage heads are all on your kitchen counter, leave them to dry. Once they’re dry, you must wrap them inside plastic then store them in your fridge. You can keep them for few weeks. Actually, cabbages that are freshly harvested will last up to one or two months as long as you save them in your fridge. Make sure your cabbages are unwashed and saved in porous bag.
You’re only allowed to wash your cabbages when you want to cook them. Want to know some other ways to store your harvested cabbages? Below are some secrets you should try.
Storing Fresh Cabbages You Have Harvested
1. Freezing your cabbages
First of all, remove your cabbage heads’ yellowed leaves. Now wash the entire cabbage heads thoroughly. Dislodge the bugs from your cabbages by soaking your cabbage heads using salt water. Wait for about thirty minutes to kill the bugs. For a gallon of the water, you need salt between one and three tablespoons.
Now separate your cabbage leaves or cut the head into some wedges. Boil some water and use that’s boiling water to blanch your cabbage only for about 90 seconds. Plunge them in ice water. Blanching will help preserving nutrients that can be lost during freezing process. Besides, it also helps your cabbage to stay edible for longer time.
2. Dehydrating cabbages after understanding when to harvest cabbage
Dehydrating cabbages is another way to store your cabbages. Wash your cabbages first then slice them into many thin strips. Prepare your dehydrator trays and arrange your cabbage on the trays. Dehydrate your cabbages at between 125 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit for between seven and eleven hours. Store your dehydrated cabbage in vacuum sealed bags or glass jars.
3. Once you know when to harvest cabbage, make cabbage fermentation
Preserving your cabbage can be done by fermenting it. You’re free to make cabbage kimchi or sauerkraut. Lacto fermentation’s basic process requires you to use water and salt to create perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. Bacteria will then eat your cabbages’ sugar to create ferment that contains lots of probiotic bacteria that is beneficial to keep everyone’s gut healthy.
When to Harvest Cabbage and Cook It
You sure need some recipes that will help you creating the most delicious dishes from cabbage.
1. Coleslaw and Stir Fried Cabbage
Of course you can make tons of coleslaw for your family, but don’t you want to make something more special than it? Stir fried cabbage is my favorite. You can make stir fried chicken cabbage for family dinner.
Salmon Tacos Served with Cabbage Slaw and Tomatillo Guacamole
Another dinner dish you can try is the salmon tacos served with cabbage slaw and tomatillo guacamole. You planted and harvested the cabbages not for no reason. So if you’re sure when to harvest cabbage, prepare the best cabbage recipe before you start cooking. For the salmon tacos menu, you’ll need to use the red cabbage.
2. Sautéed Cabbage with Lemon Garlic
For a simpler dinner, consider making sautéed cabbage with lemon garlic. Unlike the previous recipe, this recipe uses the white cabbage instead of the red one. Green cabbage can be used as alternative if you don’t plant the white cabbage.
3. Butter Braised Cabbage
This menu will be perfect with savoy cabbage or the green one if you can’t find the savoy cabbage. Cook it with 3 tablespoons of butter, sea salt that will add taste, and some water. Melt your butter first then add your cabbage before sprinkling it with your salt. Add some water while stirring your cabbage to combine everything together.
Growing Cabbages and When To Harvest Cabbage
Interested to harvest some cabbages? You must understand how to grow them first. You are free to plant small cabbage in softball size or the large cabbages that the heads’ diameter usually reaches 6 inches to 8 inches. Pick one you love the most.
Cabbages are able to handle light shade and full sun. Cabbage plants don’t set fruit or flowers, so they don’t have to stay under the sun for the whole day. If you live in the warmer climates, you must provide shade for the hot months in order to prevent your cabbage plants from drying out. Then your cabbages will tell you when to harvest cabbage.
Tips for Healthy Cabbage Plants
1. Healthy Soil for Healthier Cabbages
Before you know when to harvest cabbage, you must check if your soil is good for cabbages to grow. The soil must be well drained and contains lots of organic matter. Make sure that the pH of your soil is above 6.8 since acidic soil will cause cabbage disease that’s called the club root.
2. Proper Planting Process
Grow your cabbage seeds inside your home for between 6 and 10 weeks. Then transplant your seedlings outside few weeks before the last frost date. Just make sure that your soil is in best condition to plan your cabbages. Then you can directly plant your cabbages in your garden. Those steps must be passed first to know when to harvest cabbage.
3. Maintain Your Cabbage Plants
You should understand not only when to harvest cabbage, but also how to maintain your cabbages. Always keep your cabbages watered. Watering will prevent your cabbages from splitting. Cabbages eat a lot, so you will have to compost your soil once per three weeks in order to keep your soil rich.
4. Removing Insects from Your Cabbages
Cabbage worms are worst threats for your cabbages. So don’t just think about when to harvest cabbage, you need to prevent those insects to make many holes on your cabbages’ leaves. Always handpick the insects you find on your cabbage plants. Keep your cabbages free from cutworms and slugs as well.
5. Protecting Your Cabbages from Diseases
Club root and blackleg fungus are most famous diseases found on cabbages. If you want to bring the theory of when to harvest cabbage into reality, you need to remove those diseases or else they will leave dark spots not only on leaves but also on stems. Black rot will then affect your cabbages’ vein and make your cabbages become yellow.
You’ve read the details of when to harvest cabbage, but do you understand how many varieties of cabbage are waiting for you? There are at least five different cabbage varieties you can plant in your garden.
First one is drumhead cabbage that has deep savoy leaves as well as savory crunch that is wonderful. Another variety of cabbage you should know after learning about when to harvest cabbage is thee January king cabbage. This one is green and purple cabbage.
Then there’s also red delight and red acre that is going to give you purple varieties. Jersey Wakefield cabbage is the classic yet famous cabbage. Finally, there’s murdoc cabbage that has pointed head. This last cabbage variety also has tender and sweet leaves.
Don’t you want to plant some or all of those cabbage varieties in your own garden? Since you’ve known when to harvest cabbage, don’t hesitate to grow them so one day you’ll be able to harvest them and make tasty meals from your own garden.